Jellybean’s been asking for a little brother for a while now. So, like the doting, dutiful parents we are, My Lovely Wife and I gave Jellybean what she wanted. But rather than going through all the hassle of insemination and pregnancy – the waiting and the expense, we did the next best thing.
We borrowed someone else’s baby boy. His name is Price – a redheaded, 1-year-old dynamo who’s already made best friends with our dogs and waddles around the house gruttin’ like Captain Caveman with a Napoleonic complex. He’s totally precious. But we’re only keeping him for a few days while his parents party like Poison, circa 1986 somewhere in the wilds of Jamaica.
By day 2, Jellybean’s rearranged her wish list, replacing a baby brother with a dwarf hamster. She doesn’t really appreciate having been replaced – even temporarily – on the cuteness totem pole by a tike who looks like he belongs on an Irish Spring commercial.
Take our recent conversation before Price’s first night in the Buckner abode.
Me: “So are you going to be a good part-time big sister and share your toys?”
Jellybean: “Well, I don’t really think so because he puts everything in his mouth.”
True. I’d forgotten the simple joy of sticking my fingers into the mouth of a child and the fear of pulling back only a nub. Dude may have only eight teeth but he ain’t afraid to use ‘em when he’s eating a potato chip – even if it’s plastic and belongs in the Barbie kitchen.
I wasn’t exactly crazy about the idea of having a toddler around. I mean felt confident that I’d survived those maddening days and had put them far enough into the past as to have romanticized the hours of rocking a screaming Jellybean during her “colicky phase” and having to clean poop out of the bathtub.
Now, I can tell those stories with a smile rather than a shudder.
Besides, with The Diva babysitting during the afternoon, it was supposed to be a scared straight type deal – like watching an 18 and Pregnant marathon on MTV or one of those high school projects where they make kids take care of an egg in an effort to understand the stresses of watching out for a baby … or a chicken, I’m not sure which.
We figured after a few weeks, The Diva would never … well … ya know … until she had graduated from med school or law school or became the first female pope. But per usual, she’s smarter than all of us and managed to stay gone most of the time.
That was fine by me ‘cause (and don’t tell My Lovely Wife because I’m planning on getting lots of lovin’ miles out of my kindness and understanding through all this) but I’ve kinda enjoyed having a little man. We wee-wees have been in short supply of late (even the dogs are neutered) and it’s nice to know Price has got my back – granted he requires a high-chair to get there, but still …
Borrowing a baby is awesome. It’s like being a grandparent without getting old. We get to spoil the kid and teach him goofy stuffy (like saying “Dio” and throwing up the heavy metal horns that took Jellybean three years to master) without ever worrying that he’ll grow up to be a serial killer or act like one of those preening monsters on Toddlers and Tiaras (yes, boys compete in the pageants, too).
But at the end of the week, we’ll return Price and Jellybean will start asking for that hamster.
Contact Brett Buckner at firstname.lastname@example.org
Brett Buckner is an award-winning freelance newspaper/magazine writer who was raised in Albany.